Former Formula 1 and Formula E driver Esteban Gutierrez brought home an impressive 13th place finish at the Iowa Corn 300 on Sunday.
Usually, P13 isn’t the most impressive finish to achieve, but Gutierrez was racing on an oval for the first time in his motorsport career.
Esteban Gutierrez 13th in first Oval Race
On June 1, it was announced that Gutierrez would be taking over the Dale Coyne Racing No. 18 Verizon IndyCar Series ride for an injured Sebastien Bourdais.
Since taking over, results haven’t been the best, but Gutierrez is making progress.
The Monterrey, Mexico native’s finish at Iowa was the best in his career so far.
“Being the first time [at an oval] I didn’t know what to expect,” Gutierrez said. “During the beginning of the race I struggled a little bit. After a few laps, I got more and more comfortable at using the tools in the car in traffic, which was the most tricky part.”
Gutierrez was quick through the middle of the race, running in the back half of the top ten, before late race pit stops shuffled him back to P13.
“I was not quick enough in the first quarter,” Gutierrez said. “It took me a few laps to get comfortable. I started to make progress and it got better and better every time I went out there.”
Gutierrez also said after the race he really enjoyed racing on the oval.
“I like [oval racing] is about the little things,” He said. “It’s about precision. The mind plays a big role. It’s nice to have that in a race.”
Although, Gutierrez tested at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis before coming to Iowa, Sunday was the first time he had raced against others on an oval.
“I also want to thank all of my competitors,” he said. “It was fair racing, good racing, and I really enjoyed it today.”
Gutierrez said his goal is to be more and more competitive each race, and he has done that so far. He added that that isn’t something that some can do while racing Formula 1.
“Sometimes in Formula 1, you have a car that will finish 15th, 10th at maximum,” he said. “In IndyCar if you get lucky you might finish up front.”
Gutierrez will try to finish up front again on Sunday when the series goes to Toronto.
“Indycar is great,” Gutierrez said. “There are some very competitive drivers. It makes it more fun.”